Astronomical Equipment Advice

There are many trade-offs when it comes to what astronomical equipment to use, a lot of which depends on what you like to observe.

Binoculars

Expensive binoculars aren't required for astronomy. In fact, only standard binoculars are required to give you panoramic views of the night's sky. Binoculars suitable for stargazing should cost you around $50 dollars.

You want binoculars with ten times magnification any more and the vibration of your hands make them difficult to use without a tripod and 50mm objective lens, this is usually shown as 10x50.

Telescopes

When choosing a telescope it is important to consider getting a telescope with an equatorial mount. This will improve the tracking of the stars and to make it easier to upgrade the telescope in the future for things like astrophotography.

Refractor telescope

For a refractor telescope, a 3.5-inch aperture is the minimum size useful for astronomy. This type of telescope is excellent for delivering high levels of magnification on a planet and this is where the refractor shines. Although it, of course, can also be used to view deep-sky targets the reflector has the edge here due to its larger aperture.

However, unless you want to spend a large amount of money to buy an APO refractor, it will suffer from some chromatic aberration. While this doesn't bother most observers it can be almost eliminated with a filter. Another advantage is that requires very little maintenance compared to a reflector.

Reflector telescope

When buying a reflector telescope a 6-inch aperture is the smallest aperture you should consider.

A reflector telescope is ideal for observing deep-sky objects such as the Great Globular cluster because you get a lot more aperture for your money. However, it isn't as adept at planetary viewing.

It will also require some collimation every six months or so, in which the mirrors are aligned. However, there are some tools available that will simplify this process.

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